School of machines, making & make–believe

Why are games designed in competitive ways? How is the winner vs. loser mentality affecting us as individuals and as a society? How can we express who we are and what we envision for the future with experimental games?

  • / 2. July - 27. July 2018

  • / four weeks, full-time in Berlin, Germany

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in LIEBIG12


Winners and Losers is an intensive four-week program led by creative artists and educators Alice Stewart, Mike Lazer-Walker, and returning favourites Kati Hyppä and Niklas Roy.

As children, we grow up playing competitive games where the goal is to win, which means therefore that someone will inevitably lose. How does this trickle into our adult psyche’s and affect how we interact with others as we get older?

Through performance, world-building, and the creation of interactive and tactile experiences, we will create physical systems, in form of experimental games, that use both hardware and software to sense and respond to the analog world around us as we set out to envision new societies and new modalities of play that might exist within them.

Course Description

All over the world small communities are springing up and banding together making strange play experiences. An entire universe is bubbling up around the edges of what a game is and what a game can be.

In this program we will take a closer look at contrast, and how it plays into our lives and our conception of future worlds, as we set out to prototype a future society through hands-on play and the creation of physical, embodied, and experimental games.

This course will focus on physical computing and interactivity, exploring the creative intersection of electronics, 3D printing, and repurposed materials and how they can work seamlessly together to help you express yourself artistically in both thoughtful and non-sensical ways to create magical things that react and move while crafting imagined worlds!


  • Artist / Student (Full Time)*
    €1950 (€1750 Early Bird discount**)
    €2250 (€1950 Early Bird discount**)

  • Women and persons from LGBTQ+ and other under-represented communities in the tech field highly encouraged to apply!

    *Includes in-class materials, use of space, and professional mentorship
    **Early bird ends 14/05/2018

    Note: If you'd like us to seek out your accommodation for the month, please add €525 to the above fee.

In this course, you will be introduced to

- Tools for generating ideas, developing mechanics, building stories, completing an idea, and finding players to play*
- Tools for creating interactive artworks*
- Toolkits and platforms for making experimental games like Processing, P5.js*
- Context and inspiration: what’s happening in different experimental play communities today?*
- Wearables, sensors, wireless devices*
- Electronics and simple circuitry*
- Basic programming using Arduino microcontrollers - motors, steppers, servos, sensors, LED strips, etc.*
- Making projects portable with raspberry pi and power supplies*
- Introduction to repurposing older artworks and interfaces*
- Challenges and conversations on play from a variety of perspectives*
- An amazing network and community of like-minded creative beings and potential future collaborators
- *No previous experience necessary

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductions, concepts, world-building, narratives, play, and critical discourse, intoduction to electronics, sensors, arduino microcrontrollers.

Week 2: Tools and Techniques for creating experimental games through interactive phyiscal computing. Using old devices to create new experimental game artifacts.

Week 3: Advanced physical computing for creating experimental games for interactivity in public spaces.

Week 4: Continuation of Week 3, creating collective narrative experiences which will be open to the public on the final day of the program.

Who is this program for?

Join the diverse movement of digital artists, creative coders, game-modders, art-games communities, experience designers, immersive theatre writers, personal-games advocates, story-tellers, performance artists, street game enthusiasts, and champions of the playful as we spend a month this summer combining technology, storytelling, and experimental games.

This workshop is geared toward anyone involved in creative projects that wish to begin incorporating world-building, interactivity, electronics, and experimental games and experiences into their work or practice. The course approaches game-making from an introductory level. No prior experience is required.

Related Links

Unpacking the title Winners and Losers
More related links coming soon!

This interactive cross stitch activity introduces those who are unfamiliar with technology to the Internet. By connecting to an-on screen lesson, the object becomes a controller that advances the tutorial as each stitch is made, bridging the gap between analog and digital processes. Project by Alice Stewart.

Inspired by old model trains, Seduce the Train, a project by Kati Hyppa with Niklas Roy, is a two-person game played in turns, moving the train from one station to another. It was originally conceived at Eniarof, a pop-up fun fair concept by Antonin Fourneau.

The Forbidden Fruit Machine is an interactive installation by Kati Hyppa with Niklas Roy. It is based on a painting called "The Fall of Man" created by Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem in 1592. The machine reinterprets the historical artwork in the form of a mechatronic video game, giving the spectator of the painting the chance to control the destiny of the forbidden apple with a joystick.

Hello, Operator! is a game played on a vintage telephone switchboard from 1927, a refurbished Western Electric 551-A. You'll listen to callers using a vintage telephone handset, connect calls by physically connecting patch cables between ports, and receive feedback through a series of status lights. The game teaches you how to use the hardware exactly how it would have been used in 1927. Project by Mike Lazer-Walker.



  • Alice Stewart/

    Alice Stewart (born 1992) is a creative technologist and designer based between London and Amsterdam. As an educator, she has established Hackspace workshops at Kingston University and the Royal College of Art in London. Her self initiated projects have been featured in such publications as The Guardian, It’s Nice That and Complex Magazine.

  • Kati Hyppä

    Kati Hyyppä is a Berlin-based artist and educator from Finland who explores playful ways to connect with technology. Besides building electronic objects and installations, she also gives courses and workshops on topics ranging from low-tech robots and electromechanics to electronic textiles. Kati draws her inspiration from DIY culture, recycled electronics, popular science, traditional crafts and humorous storytelling. Creative use of openly licensed cultural content is also close to her heart. Embracing the open source movement, she publishes her documentation so that others can build upon it.

  • Mike Lazer-Walker/

    Mike makes experimental games, interactive art, and software tools. Above all, he likes to make things that spark intellectual curiosity and inspire people to become self-motivated learners. In the past, he's spent time in creative learning and research spaces such as the Recurse Center and the MIT Media Lab, where research within the Playful Systems research group focused on storytelling at the intersection of experiential theatre, interactive fiction, and audio-based augmented reality. He has also worked with teams such as Words With Friends, Timehop, Sensible Object, Etsy, and Pivotal Labs. Currently, Mike is based in Berlin, Germany.

  • Niklas Roy

    Niklas Roy is a self-proclaimed “inventor of useless things”. He uses art in order to explore technology. His researches result in mechanical sculptures, electric machines, interactive performances and electronic devices. 'We make money not art' once described him as one of the most facetious characters of the 'new media art' world. As part of his artistic practice, Roy also conducts workshops at festivals and art schools, often together with his partner Kati Hyyppä.